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First Place Pro
The 2004 NPPL Super 7 World Series landed its second leg in Tampa, Florida. Like the PSP the NPPL has said good bye to the dust and dry air of Las Vegas for their number two stop, and hello to the Sunshine State. The site selected for the event was Raymond James Stadium, home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As a lead in to the tournament, Pure Promotions aired past episodes of the NPPL TV show on the Florida Fox Sports Net cable channel. By placing commercials in the show for the Tampa event, Pure Promotions mounted one of the largest television based campaigns ever run to draw local spectators to come watch a paintball tournament. By placing a walk-on paintball field, and semi-trailer painted up as a billboard on site in advance of the tournament, all visible from the highways passing the event site Pure Promotions took advantage of opportunites to draw in spectators. Thursday, while teams checked in, got their schedules and walked fields, Tampa’s Fox 13 news crews were on site, interviewing staff and players for news stories that would further promote the event. Additionally, promotional agreements with area night clubs were arranged to keep the players busy at night after the games were over.
The Raymond James Stadium site proved effective for the event. While the tournament was too large to fit inside the stadium itself, the surrounding grass parking areas designed to handle NFL size crowds were more than enough to hold the events five 7 man fields as well as the surrounding trade show, athlete's village and parking.
Games started Friday morning, with the preliminary rounds scheduled to be played Friday and Saturday, the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals lined up for Sunday, the big day.
Prior to the tournament, the name Miami Effect showing up on the list of teams playing led to much attention, as NXL regulations prevented NXL players from participating in tournaments not sanctioned by the league. More precisely the term should be the team formerly known as Miami Effect, as Chris La Soya and his teammates from Effect are now playing as Infamous.
Jax Warriors also made their season debut in the Super 7. The Florida based team has been playing Division 1 X Ball, but with the NPPL moving two events to Florida playing portions of both series became more convenient for them.
Both Friday and Saturday's games were met with good weather. Through the prelims, NPPL Scrutineer Dave Zinkham put the league's trigger pulling robot to use testing suspect paintguns by pulling the trigger at preset rates and measuring the velocities and number of shots fired. According to Zinkham he had tested over 40 paintguns from Friday through Saturday morning. During the prelims on Saturday he stated that he selected a suspect paintgun for testing based on observations that the player using it would fire one or two shots into his bunker after tucking back in. After testing, Zinkham reported that the suspect paintgun would fire 8 shots when the trigger was pulled 6 times at 12 or 14 cycles per second, and added a single shot when pulled at 16 or 18 cycles per second. This performance was a violation of NPPL rule 11.01 which limits paintguns to pump or semi-automatic (each trigger pull results in a single firing cycle) modes only. The resulting penalty disqualified Redz Hurricanes from the tournament canceling out points earned at the Tampa event as per rule 10.55. According to Zinkham, the paintgun, a NYX edition DM4 was held for further investigation.
Saturday afternoon the prelims completed, sorting out the teams that would play in the quarterfinals on Sunday morning and those that would go home or watch from the sidelines.
In the pro division the Naughty Dogs were back playing at their usual pace, winning all of their games to rank first. Dynasty finished only 5 points behind the Dogs, the only other pro team to play undefeated prelims. Avalanche grabbed the third position, proving they are indeed back on the map, followed by Infamous, a team with key players who have Avalanche on their resume from seasons past. Smoke ranked fifth followed by Rage, Brass Eagle and Jax Worriors. Expansion of the size of the quarterfinals in the 2004 season meant that 12 teams would go on instead of eight, so XSV, Triple Tap Sedition and Arsenal also would be hitting the fields on Sunday morning.
In Division I it was Justice at the top of the pack, followed by Bonebrake Factory Team, STP, Texas Storm and Evil. With 32 teams in the division, it was right at the mark to take 16 teams into the quarterfinals instead of only 12. This was a good break for Florida based Nemesis, Farside, Wicked and Eclipse Factory I, the teams ranked in spots 13 through 16. For Eclipse Factory I there was another reason to sweat the cut. They were tied with Boston Paintball at 506 points so the advancing team had to be selected based on numbers of live and eliminated players in total at the end of the round.
ACI Splat Factory topped Division II, edging out Doc's Raiders for the slot. The two teams lead the 16 DII teams into the quarters, while in Division III it was Expo Army and BK Factory Team at the top of the pack, also with 16 teams advancing.
On Sunday morning the quarterfinals were the sieve that really cut down the remaining teams. With a dozen pro teams in the quarters, there were three divisions of four teams each. After every team had played the rest of the teams in their division the top scoring team in each would advance to the semifinals and finals. Additionally a wild card, with the next highest score out of all three divisions would advance. In the first Pro division Naughty Dogs won two of their games to advance. In the second division Dynasty was undefeated, advancing while Sedition grabbed the wild card slot. In the their division it was Infamous that moved on.
Division I had 16 teams, so the top in each division advanced. This meant Justice, Future Ball, STP and Evil were the D I semi and finalists.
Division II also was broken into four groups with Atomix, Doc's Raiders, True Colors and Mox Nix advancing. For Division III Doc's Raider's Black, LTZ, Just Paintball and Devil's Own were able to move on.
The Semifinals served not to eliminate teams, but to sort them. For each classification of teams, the top ranked team would play the fourth ranked team in a best two out of three system. The winner would then go to play the winner of the second and third ranked teams in the finals, while the loser would play the loser of the second and third.
In the Pro division Dynasty started out by defeating Sedition. and Infamous posted a victory over the Naughty Dogs. Dynasty won their second game as did Infamous. This meant that the finals would pit Dynasty and Infamous against each other for first and second place, while Sedition and Naughty Dogs would battle it out for third and fourth.
Justice defeated Future Ball in Division I, and Evil took down STP in their first game. In the second round Justice served up a second defeat to Future Ball as did Evil to STP. This would pit Evil and Justice against each other for fist and second place.
The Division II semifinals saw Atomix defeating Mox Nix, and Doc's Raiders coming out on top over True Colors. In round two Mox Nix came back strong, beating Atomix, sending their semifinal matchup into a third round. Doc's Raiders stayed consistent, beating True Colors a second time.
Division III started off with Devil's Own handing a defeat to Just Paintball and Doc's Raider's Black beating LTZ. LTZ turned the tables in match two, defeating Doc's Black pitting the two teams against each other in a third match to shoot for that first/second place slot. Similarly Just Paintball brought it back to Devil's Own and those two teams would also go into a third match. Just Paintball took Devil's Own in the third round jumping to the battle for first and second while Doc's Raider's Black won against LTZ without a flag pull or hang. Neither was needed, just the points, so the Raider's went on to play against Just Paintball in the finals.
In the finals Infamous took it to Dynasty beating them 97 to 9 in their first game. Naughty Dogs also took Sedition in the first round. In round two, Infamous did it again, this win unseated the previously unstoppable Dynasty. Naughty Dogs defeated Sedition in round two, grabbing third place.
Justice defeated Evil in the first round of Division I finals, and Future Ball took STP. The second round started with Evil beating Justice, the two teams then heading into a third round, while Future Ball and STP tied 21 to 21, also heading into a third round. Evil took their third match against Justice, and along with it the first place title. STP was the victor in their third match against Future Ball for a third place finish.
In Division II, Atomix defeated Doc's Raiders and Mox Nix took down True Colors. In the second round Atomix defeated Doc's Raider's again. This put them in first place for Division II, and Doc's in second. Mox Nix fell to True Colors but turned it around beating them in the third round for a third place finish.
Doc's Raider's Black defeated Just Paintball in the first round of finals, while LTZ took down Devil's Own. In the second round Doc's did it again, grabbing first place and putting Just Paintball in a second place finish. Devil's Own took LTZ in the second round putting those two teams into a third match where LTZ came out victorious for the third place finish.
From Tampa, the next leg of the NPPL
series is tentatively scheduled to be held in Denver Colorado, where Dynasty
will undoubtedly be coming back for their crown, and change ups in other
leagues may possibly see even tougher competition coming into the pro division.